IT is advisable to allow the private sector to import vaccines and provide vaccination services to members of the public who are willing to pay for it, said a Selangor state assemblyman.
While it is commendable that the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) emphasised that no VIP should just the vaccination queue ahead of frontliners, it is imperative that the Government regulates who gets vaccinated first, prioritising those with highest risk and exposure.
According to Rajiv Rishyakaran, opening up vaccination services to the private sector will give members of the public a choice in selecting their preferred vaccine.
“With various vaccine providers in the market with varying reviews on its efficacy, the public should be given the opportunity to purchase the vaccine of their choice,” he said.
“This is a pertinent point especially when the government has emphasised that those getting vaccinations from the public sector will not get to choose their preferred vaccine,” Rajiv added.
The participation of the private sector will also expediate the vaccination programme, allowing more individuals to get their shot sooner for a variety of reasons, be it travel, business, education and so on.
Rajiv also believed that roping in private healthcare providers to complement the Government’s fight against COVID-19.
“Excluding them (private healthcare providers) had resulted in overworking all medical personnel in the government sector and making testing inaccessible to all except close contacts of patients who had tested positive. As a result of that, I had embarked on promoting affordable RTK Antigen tests to the general public by collaborating with private clinics,” Rajiv stated.
Vaccinations need to be sped up
According to Mosti minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the National Immunisation Programme aims to achieve 70% to 80% of herd immunity in the country by February 2022.
“This timeline can be shortened if we pool all our resources to battle this global pandemic,” Rajiv opined.
He also mentioned that while Malaysia started its vaccination programme later compared to neighbouring countries, participation of the private sector might help the Government reach its target sooner.
“Even if we speed up the process by two to three months, the economic benefits will be huge and so many businesses and industries can be revitalised. Too many businesses are on the brink of collapse, so expediting vaccinations might help make a difference for them,” he concluded. – Mar 5, 2021